Do you have any idea how hard it is not to touch your chin?
It’s right in my face, on the bottom. The ideal spot to handle my face from. When one props up one’s head to keep from sleeping or because they’re lazy, it’s right there at the bottom and the first thing the hand encounters unless one is the type to tilt one’s head and use cheek/cheekbones for the handle. I’m not that person. It’s the chin.
I have a pimple on my chin right now. It sprung up yesterday. It’s kind of painful but not quite a real cystic acne thing. It wants to ooze a little. It’s gross, and I probably shouldn’t be discussing it. It is also dead under the tip of my chin. It’s almost impossible not to touch it, accidentally or in “scientific” testing probes consisting of the tips of my fingers.
It’s gross and I feel gross doing it.
It doesn’t much stop me.
So… why is that?
There’s the fact that, as I said, my chin is RIGHT THERE. It’s central. It’s right there. I touch it way more than I should for skin health, anyway.
That’s true, but there’s also the whole “once seen, cannot be unseen” principle. From the second that my face (specifically my chin) has attention drawn to it, my brain can’t quite let it go. When I pass a mirror I have to take “just one more look” at the situation. I try to replace poking, squeezing, scratching, or whatever other “helpful” measure the given situation might “call for” with something more realistically helpful like a topical product that might help heal the problem. That’s something. It might help. Sometimes, I still get “hands on” about things, and sometimes it’s premature. Then, I just hope I’m not doing more damage than helping.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
I suppose then, that unfortunately I must pretend I was going somewhere with this and make the parallels that are mawkishly obvious, really. If I take on the assumption that I’m not insanely different than others, then humanity is a race of “pickers.” We touch our boo boos. We check our email for that message we hope is just a little late. “Well enough alone” is a great concept and yet one we can almost never leave. We pull at hangnails. We look at imperfections in the world around us and when we can finally pull away from the contemplation and analysis… sometimes good things happen.
It’s the fact that a chip in the paint can fascinate that makes the repainting happen. The way that a recipe doesn’t QUITE work that makes one try again and add more cillantro or basil or salt.
The important part is to get to that place of real, helpful action and leave the one of panic and picking.
As for my chin, the mosquito bite on my leg, or that little bitty patch of dry skin on my toe… well, it’s just a case of telling my body I got it, I’m aware. I have this lotion and time… and the judicious application of both are my tools. Sometimes a professional. Not that often. I’m usually pretty careful about the whole “I’m a crank” thing and avoid the doctor.
I suppose what I have here is a messy metaphor, but I know perfectionism is a double edged sword, and one I’m always juggling.